In 1969, it was illegal for many states to not only employ LGBTQ+ individuals but also to serve them. On the night of June 27th and into the morning of the 28th, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay bar and club. Police began arresting drag queens and those who were transgender as it was also illegal to “masquerade” as the opposite sex.
However, on this particular night they fought back against the police. Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender woman of color has been said to have thrown a brick at the officers, beginning the riot. With the crowd fighting back the police eventually barricaded themselves into the Stonewall for safety. Despite all of this occurring the Stonewall opened for business the next night. Again though, police came and began tear gassing and beating those who were there.
These two nights of riot made the Stonewall a place for LGBTQ+ activists to rally. These activists demanded newspaper coverage of what was happening and rioted for change. While the riots did not last long the impact of them has been ginormous. On June 28th, 1970, a year later, gay activists rallied at the Stonewall and began the very first Pride Parade, lasting fifteen blocks and involving thousands of people.
Now we celebrate Pride Month during June for all LGBTQ+ individuals, whether out or not. While there has been significant progress since 1969, such as gay marriage being legalized in the U.S. in 2015, there is still a long way to go. Especially with the recent controversy currently happening over whether those who are transgender should be allowed to participate in sports, and the discussion on whether health professionals should be allowed to deny services to those who are transgender.
Something that has been shared an excessive number of times on various social media platforms is the question of ‘why do we need to support pride?’ Many people complain that by having a pride month it is shoving it down their throats, it is creating a divide between LGBTQ+ and cisgender heterosexual individuals. Yet, fully support the transgender sports ban and for healthcare providers to deny services due to their personal beliefs.
Pride Month is not a month centered around shoving pride down others’ throats, nor is it a month that is centered around making heterosexual and cisgender people uncomfortable. The main focus is not to show that those celebrating are better. LGBTQ+ individuals have had to and continue to fight for the same rights those who were born cisgender and heterosexual already have. So yes, pride month is important to celebrate, and it is important to continue to celebrate.
Pride doesn’t last just a month, we need to continue supporting the LGBTQ+ community, educating others about why Pride is important, and advocating for equal rights. We must continue to educate and advocate for a safe and inclusive society. As long as LGBTQ+ individuals are still being denied access to basic human rights and decencies and are still being attacked for who they are, we will not have equality. So yes, Pride matters and will continue to matter.